- Can a product be EPA registered for Water Damage?
- How do I know that Benefect Disinfectant really kills germs?
- What is the difference between cleaners and disinfectants?
- Can I clean and disinfect in one step?
- Should I wipe or rinse Benefect Disinfectant off food contact surfaces?
- Does the product come in different scents?
- Why are there no warning labels?
- How do I know that Benefect Disinfectant isn't actually hurting me and my family?
- Can Benefect be used on porous surfaces like wood or carpet?
- What does the ECOLOGO mark mean?
- Can Benefect Be Used To Clean Up A Meth Lab?
- Can I spray Benefect into an Air Duct/HVAC system?
1. Can a product be EPA registered for Water Damage?
The answer is Yes… sort of. The EPA doesn't specifically look at the process of water damage or sewage clean up, but they do review where and how the product will be applied.
You can find those application sites listed on the EPA Registered disinfectant label. For example on the Benefect EPA approved label, it states…
"Suitable for use in restoration, decontamination & remediation sites (fire, water, sewage, trauma scene) including residential, schools, offices, hotels, health care & food preparation facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, medical, veterinary & dental offices, health professional, chiropractic & physiotherapy clinics, child care centers, nurseries, sickrooms, restaurants, kitchens, cafeterias, food storage areas, fitness gyms, spas, zoos, barns & kennels."
The EPA isn't approving a product to be used in Water Damage Restoration so much, as they are approving where a disinfectant can be applied. The EPA's main interest is to protect the public's health & safety and so they are concerned with the product's level of toxicity and what exposure risks there might be to humans in that environment.
Benefect Disinfectants don't have any toxicity warnings, signal words or precautionary statements. That means, even though the product is regulated and controlled by the EPA, there is very little restriction in where the product can be applied.
Disinfectants that have toxicity will come with appropriate label warnings, Personal Protective Equipement requirements and first aid instructions to effectively handle those toxicity issues in any environment, including but not limited to, a building with Water Damage.
2. A lot of cleaning products claim to be disinfectants, but as a consumer how do I know that Benefect Disinfectant really kills germs?
"Disinfectant" is actually a legal term that can only be stated on product labels that have been proven to kill 99.999% of specific bacteria. "Fungicide" is also a legal term that proves the product kills 99.999% of fungi. These test bacteria and fungi are predetermined by the EPA. In addition to germ kill data, the EPA scientists review the product for other characteristics such as; how toxic the product is to our environment, directions for safe and effective application, storage, disposal and handling plus a complete review of the health and safety profile of the product. When the EPA is satisfied with all the scientific data, the product is registered and issued an EPA number. The product can now be called a disinfectant or a fungicide. The EPA number for Benefect Disinfectant is 84683-1-74771. The EPA number for Decon 30 is 84683-3-74771
3. What is the difference between cleaners and disinfectants?
Cleaners aren't registered with the EPA and do not require registration to be sold into the marketplace. Cleaning products cannot make any public health claims on their labels that they kill germs. Watch out for "antimicrobial" cleaners or other marketing terms that allude to killing germs. A good rule of thumb to distinguish between cleaners and disinfectant is to make sure the product has an EPA number on the label. If there isn't an EPA number on the label then be safe and just use the product to clean up dirt and other organic matter.
4. Can I clean and disinfect in one step?
Yes, but only if the surface to be disinfected is not excessively dirty. It is to be understood that visible, impermeable particulates would be removed prior to disinfection. Some disinfectants are tested with a 5% organic load on the surface to simulate real life use. But if the surface is covered with enough "dirt" to be a barrier, then that is excessively dirty and needs to be cleaned prior to disinfection. If the disinfectant was applied in these conditions, without pre-cleaning, there is a possibility that 1) the disinfectant will be inactivated by the dirt, or 2) the dirt will pose a physical barrier so the disinfectant simply can't get to the bacteria. It is best to use some of the Benefect Multi Purpose Cleaner to first clean up the visible dirt so the disinfectant can get to work.
One-step or combination cleaner/disinfectant products, do not require surfaces to be pre-cleaned saving a labor step. Make sure you read and follow the EPA registered label.
5. Should I wipe or rinse Benefect Disinfectant off food contact surfaces?
All disinfectants are required to be rinsed or wiped off a surface because of their health warnings. Benefect disinfectants are exempt from this standard by the EPA because of the health and safety profiles of the products. This even includes food contact surfaces which is an additional public health claim. Always refer to the product label for information on specific applications.
6. Does the product come in different scents?
Only the lemon and thyme fragrance is avilable at this time. The scent is a direct result of the thyme oil active ingredient that does the germ killing. Many fragrances that consumers are used to are actually synthetic and do not contribute to the germ killing ability of the product.
Decon 30 was formulated with less of the thyme oil Active Ingredient and therefore has less of a fragrance. In addition, the fragrance will disapate very quickly.
7. Why are there no warning labels?
All of the ingredients that are in Benefect Disinfectants are either F.D.A (Food and Drug Administration) approved as Food Additives or on the United States G.R.A.S. (Generally Recognized as Safe) list. When the EPA reviewed the health and safety profile they determined that these food grade ingredients posed no negative health effects and that the Benefect Disinfectants did not require any health warnings.
8. Lots of cleaning products say "Natural" but snake venom and arsenic are natural, so how do I know that Benefect Disinfectant and Fungicide isn't actually hurting me and my family?
The EPA's directive is to maintain and protect public health. If Benefect Disinfectant is a potential public health threat then they would require the product label to list any potential hazards. The EPA has approved the Benefect product labels with no signal words or precautionary statements.
9. Can Benefect be used on porous surfaces like wood or carpet?
You can apply a disinfectant to a porous surface and it will kill the organisms it comes in contact with. The difficulty with porous surfaces is that organisms can be reached making it almost impossible to ensure the disinfectant contacts every organism. Therefore the EPA will not allow any “disinfecting” claims (Killing 99.99%) to be made on porous materials, for any product.
Regulated disinfectant products can have “Cleaning” or “Deodorization” claims on porous surfaces however, these are not considered public health claims and therefore, are not regulated statements by the EPA because there is no germ killing involved. This is not to be confused with a “Disinfection” claim.
When applying a disinfectant to a porous material the highest level of germ killing claim allowed by the EPA is a “Sanitization” claim (killing 99.9%). As an example, our Decon 30 Disinfectant is registered with the EPA as a carpet sanitizer (which includes fabrics and textiles).
For more information click here: Porous Surfaces
10. What does the Ecologo mark mean?
UL is the provider of the ECOLOGO certification program. ECOLOGO Certified products, are certified for reduced environmental impact. ECOLOGO Certifications are voluntary, multi-attribute, lifecycle based environmental certifications that indicate a product has undergone rigorous scientific testing, exhaustive auditing, or both, to prove its compliance with stringent, third-party, environmental performance standards. http://industries.ul.com/environment.
11. Can Benefect Be Used To Clean Up A Meth Lab?
The manufacturing process used in a Meth Lab produces heavy petrochemical and solvent residues that become baked into surfaces, walls and floors. These residues can be cleaned with Atomic Degreaser that uses dynamic chemistry to break down the residues. Follow the label instructions for dilution and simply spray Atomic onto the surface with a hand sprayer. Let Atomic dwell on the surface 2-5 minutes. Every meth lab will be different so variations of using higher concentrations of Atomic (less water) or allowing a longer dwell time can be experimented with. Wipe off or rinse the surface with water. Note: Benefect Disinfectant may be used after cleaning with Atomic, if microbial growth is a concern.
This is a tricky one because this is an area of much confusion in the industry. The bottom line is that no “Disinfectant” is EPA approved for use in “Air Duct Systems”. The EPA does not allow “Disinfection” claims (or any public health claims such as “kills”) to be claimed within “Air Duct Systems”. And it actually makes sense because proper pre-cleaning, complete surface coverage & contact time cannot be proven within an entire system when an operator can’t even see the entire system, never mind touch it to clean it. In other words, the EPA approved label Directions cannot be effectively followed in Air Duct Systems. Therefore, because our product is a “Disinfectant”, we as EPA regulated manufacturers cannot claim its use within Air Duct systems on the same label.
12. Can I spray Benefect into an Air Duct/HVAC system?
Having said that, both of our current Benefect Disinfectants are approved for used on “coils & drain pans of HVAC&R equipment, air conditioning & refrigeration equipment” etc. as stated on the EPA approved labels because these components can be seen & touched, so the label directions can be correctly followed.
However, and this is where it gets confusing, the HVAC market wants to use/sell products in HVAC systems, so years ago the EPA approved a specific, scripted, Air Duct label for use in Air Duct systems. BUT the procedure is 9 pages long & it does not contain ANY public health claims (such as “disinfectant”, “sanitize”, “kill germs”). Even worse, this Air Duct scripted label does allow all the pseudo-claims that the EPA specifically lists as NOT public health claims (& therefore is NOT reviewed & regulated as a Disinfectant is)
e.g. ““biocide”, “bacteriostatic”, “controls odors caused by bacteria and mold“, “microbiocide”, “microbicide”, and “microbiostat” are generally not acceptable on a public health product. If used on a non-public-health product, the claim must be qualified to indicate that the product does not provide public health protection.”
Ref: Section VII, Para 1&2, on pg 6: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-03/documents/chap-12-nov-2013.pdf
This is very misleading to the industry unfortunately & why a lot of confusion around this application exists (even for us!). Making it even worse is that some companies try to capitalize on this confusion by marketing “air duct system deodorizer” or “controls odours from mold in air duct systems” or even a “biocide for use in air ducts” etc. - all non-public health claims! Thankfully, the EPA is cracking down on this confusing practice e.g. recently a leading restoration Disinfectant product had their “hard surface air ducts” wording removed from their label.
Benefect does have a separate EPA approved product label for Air Ducts (EPA#84683-2-74771) using the same formula & with all our public health claims removed, indicating that under a separate label it is suitable for this application, but it is not in production at this time.